Researchers identify biomarker to be of use in detecting gliomas

Multifaceted genetic testing techniques have allowed researchers to establish a novel biomarker that could prove to be integral in the diagnosis of glioma, one of the most common malignancies to affect the brain.

This biomarker, called ELTD1 (epidermal growth factor, latrophilin and seven transmembrane domain-containing protein 1), “may serve as an additional biomarker for gliomas in preclinical and clinical diagnosis of gliomas," wrote Rheal A. Towner of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation regarding the latest study, published in the current edition of the journal Neurosurgery.

Data mining and bioinformatics mechanisms were employed by Towner and the rest of the study team to determine which genes and gene products were possibly correlating with gliomas. Approximately 200 markers were investigated, with ELTD1 rising to the top of the heap as the indicator with the most prominent ties to glioma production. Regarding the patient study subjects, EDLT1 was particularly prevalent in study subjects with high-grade gliomas compared to the 21 participants with gliomas of lesser grade.

Other adjacent experiments conducted with rodents — wherein glioma cells were transplanted into rat subjects — revealed very much the same outcome. As tumors progressed within the animal subjects, EDLT1 levels also rose to a degree known to be rare within normal brain tissues.

"Validation of more biomarkers for GBM could be beneficial in the diagnosis and therapeutic intervention of this disease," the researchers wrote. "Any increase in ELTD1 will more than likely be associated with increased angiogenesis or neovascularization [new blood vessel development] in gliomas.”

Although this line of study is admittedly fresh and still in its preliminary stages, Towner and fellow researchers anticipate that EDLT1 will be useful for providers in the diagnostic realm, to track high-grade tumors.

"[T]his biomarker may play an important diagnostic role in addition to currently used markers for gliomas, particularly as a histological marker for identifying vascular proliferation," they concluded.